It’s the most fun and physically demanding week of the year—Vacation Bible School.
My first year of leading VBS, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I ordered the kit, borrowed liberally from other parishes using the same theme, and prayed it would all come together. That first year we had 20 children and 10 volunteers.
For our rainforest theme, we created a set with green and flowered sheets hanging on the walls, a net woven with paper bag “vines” and silk flowers hanging from the ceiling, and some stuffed and rubber animals scattered around the room. Even with our pitiful props and set, what made it work so well was the fun everyone—grownups included—had that week.
Every year, the curriculum has that one song the children love and continually request. That first year, the popular song was “Be Happy in Your Faith.” The dance moves required us to squat down to the floor and pop back up, over and over and over again. By the end of the week, I was so sore I couldn’t pop as fast as the kids did, but it kept us laughing and made for some funny moments—particularly when I got down and couldn’t get back up without help.
Six years later, with our VBS averaging about 50 children and 25 volunteers, it’s still the most fun I have all year. This annual adventure reminds me why I accepted this vocation—I see it in the faces of the kids as they come bursting into the parish hall the first day, hugging me around the waist or, for the little ones, around the legs.
And for their part, the children always teach me a lesson or two.
They’ve taught me not to sweat the small stuff, or even the big stuff. The “disaster” of the Jell-O not jelling isn’t a disaster to the children. They just swirl it around with the whipped topping anyway and don’t care it’s a little on the liquidy side.
They’ve taught me not to be worried about looking silly. Every year I get a few participants who don’t know anyone else at VBS. If I am excited to see them and make a fool of myself for their benefit, it hopefully inspires them to want to come back and learn a little more.
Finally, they’ve taught me to give it all to the Holy Spirit, because that’s really who’s in charge. I once read somewhere that we are the plugs; the Holy Spirit is the outlet that provides the power. It really isn’t in my hands, so as long as we all have fun and everyone finds themselves a little closer to God, I’m doing what I set out to do.
Read Heather’s Four Tips on How to Survive Vacation Bible School and Still Have Fun.